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The Domestic Politics of European Preferences Towards Global Economic Governance

  • Stefan A. Schirm EMAIL logo
From the journal New Global Studies


Why is global economic governance often marked by controversies among EU member states despite their commitment to joint action? European members of the G20 diverge over public debt to stimulate growth and over global trade imbalances. These issues express differences in economic interests, such as competitiveness, as well as ideational divergences regarding deficit spending and the role of the government in steering the economy. Therefore, domestic politics theories seem to constitute a necessary complement to integration theories in explaining European governments’ preferences. In applying the societal approach, I argue that domestic value-based ideas and material interests shape governmental preferences in international political economy. In doing so, ideas prevail when fundamental economic policy issues such as public debt are at stake, while interests prevail, when governance directly affects the costs and benefits of specific economic sectors. These arguments are analysed by comparing the domestic politics of British, French, German and Italian positions towards two policy debates in the G20.


This article is a considerably revised and updated version of a paper written at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies of the European University Institute (EUI) in the ‘Global Governance’ and ‘Europe in the World’ Programmes (RSCAS 2015/21). I would like to thank the EUI and the ‘Europe in the World’ Programme for their generous support through the Robert Schuman Fellowship and to the colleagues at EUI for an inspiring working environment. Special thanks go to Ulrich Krotz and to the anonymous reviewers for valuable comments.


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Published Online: 2018-09-14
Published in Print: 2018-11-27

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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